Andrea Stewart-Cousins

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Andrea Stewart-Cousins
Andrea Stewart-Cousins 2013.jpg
Minority Leader of the New York Senate
Assumed office
December 17, 2012
Deputy Mike Gianaris
Jeffrey D. Klein
Preceded by John L. Sampson
Member of the New York Senate
from the 35th district
Assumed office
January 1, 2007
Preceded by Nicholas Spano
Personal details
Born (1950-09-02) September 2, 1950 (age 67)
New York City, New York, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Education Pace University (BA, MPA)
City University of New York, Lehman

Andrea Stewart-Cousins is an American politician. A member of the Democratic Party, Stewart-Cousins represents District 35 in the New York State Senate and serves as Senate Democratic Leader. A resident of Yonkers, New York, Stewart-Cousins is the first woman in the history of New York State to lead a conference in the New York State Legislature.

Before being elected to the State Senate in 2006, Stewart-Cousins was a Westchester County Legislator. In 2012, she was chosen by her colleagues to lead the Senate Democratic Conference.

Early life, education, and early career[edit]

Born in 1951, Stewart-Cousins was raised in New York State. She earned her Bachelor of Science Degree from Pace University and her teaching credentials in Business Education from Lehman College. She received her Masters of Public Administration from Pace University in May 2008 and is a member of Pi Alpha Alpha, the public administration honor society. She spent twenty years in the private sector, including thirteen years in sales and marketing with New York Telephone/AT&T. She also pursued a career in journalism and teaching before entering public service.

Stewart-Cousins's public service career began in 1992, when she was appointed as the Director of Community Affairs in the City of Yonkers; she was the first African-American woman to hold that position. Stewart-Cousins created an internship program for the hearing-impaired and for children in working families. She advocated for and contributed to the revitalization of the City of Yonkers and was a founder of the original "Art on Main Street," as well as a co-creator of "River Fest", which for more than 20 years has been a widely attended multi-cultural citywide celebration on the Hudson River in Yonkers.[1]

Political career[edit]

Prior to her election to the New York State Senate in 2006, Andrea Stewart-Cousins served for a decade as a Westchester County Legislator representing Yonkers. During her tenure (from 1996 to 2006), she was elected Majority Whip and Vice-Chair, and she authored and passed landmark legislation, including Westchester County's first human rights laws, living wage laws, smoke-free workplace laws, tougher gun laws, laws that prosecute "predatory lenders", and laws that have provided tax cuts for seniors and veterans. As Chair of the Health Committee, Legislator Stewart-Cousins brought the "Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner Program" to Westchester County.

After being elected to the State Senate in 2006, Stewart-Cousins successfully fought to save the Community Hospital at Dobbs Ferry from closure.[2]

Stewart-Cousins voted in favor of same-sex marriage legislation on December 2, 2009, but the bill was defeated.[3] A same-sex marriage law was eventually passed in 2011. Stewart-Cousins is a vocal supporter of abortion rights, and has pushed for legislation to expand abortion access in the State of New York.[4]

On April 17, 2010, it was reported that Stewart-Cousins (D-Yonkers) was under consideration by then-gubernatorial candidate Andrew Cuomo to be his running mate, but he chose Bob Duffy instead.[5]

In December 2012, Senate Democrats elected Stewart-Cousins as Senate Democratic Leader.[6]

Personal life[edit]

Senator Stewart-Cousins resides in Yonkers, was married to the late Thomas Cousins, and has three children and four grandchildren.

See also[edit]


External links[edit]

New York State Senate
Preceded by
Nicholas Spano
New York State Senate, 35th District
Political offices
Preceded by
Betty Little
Chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Local Governments
Succeeded by
Jack Martins